Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

WAYS 102 - Real Teachers Please Stand Up - Lynn Hall Fall 2021

Your Assignment

Fall 2021 Essay #2 from Dr. Lynn Hall

You are writing an essay to "document arguments" on education reform.  This is NOT an argumentative essay - DON'T take a side/stand! Your job is to "map the arguments around a topic".  In order to do this, you must find a minimum of three "scholarly secondary sources" that cover arguments and counterarguments on your topic.

Deadlines:

10/18/21

Class Preparation Notes #5 on a secondary scholarly source

10/20/21

Evaluative Annotated Bibliography of 3 sources

10/21/21

Class Preparation Notes #6 on 1 of the 3 sources

10/29/21

Essay 2 DRAFT DUE for peer workshop.

11/12/21

Essay 2 FINAL Submission due

What to Do

Step 1: Topic Analysis

Look at the handout. example
Choose a general topic Educational Standards

Consider what aspects of that topic interest you

Should standards be set at the local, state, or federal level?

Create a list of possible search terms - NOT SENTENCES! Individual words that represent your interest

  • educational standards
  • local, state, federal, government
  • standardized testing, SAT, ACT
  • Common core
Be prepared to adjust and change the list as you start searching  

Step 2: Choose a database

Decide whether you need a:

  • General Database that covers lots of disciplines.
    • The quick search box on the library home page
    • Academic Search Complete
  • Or a focused database that narrows in to the sources for just that discipline
    • On the library home page, click on "choose databases by subject and type"
    • Choose the subject and type of sources you want and see what databases are suggested.

for this assignment, a focused database will be more effective because you need discipline specific scholarly articles.

Step 3: Search the database effectively

  • Use the four main search techniques
    • AND - to connect different ideas 
      • standards and education and federal
    • ( OR ) - to contain synonym in a group to be searched together 
      • standards and education and (federal or state)
    • quotation marks - to keep words together that express a single idea
      • "standardized testing" and government
    • Wildcard character - to catch multiple endings of a word.
      • ("educational standards" or "common core") and (state or federal) and (govern* or politic*)
  • Use the limiters on the left side of the results lists to hone in on useful items, e.g.
    • Recent
    • Articles from Academic Journal
    • in English

Step 4: Evaluate your results and revise your search as necessary

Step 5: Retrieve the articles you choose

Periodicals: A Closer Look

A Periodical is anything that is published regularly and includes newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, as well as some less well-known categories.  You will be required by faculty to use articles from peer-reviewed journals in your academic work.  What does that mean?  How do you know that what you are finding is acceptable?

  • name of the periodical (journal, bulletin, quarterly, review...)
  • more pages in the article than in a magazine article
  • abstract present in the article (not just the database record)
  • author affiliation given
  • presence of a bibliography or references

And how do you find them in the first place?  The best way is to use a database designed to locate scholarly articles in your field of interest.

General Searching Techniques for library databases

  1. Try a title or keyword search
  2. Some databases have a list of suggested subject words on the initial results page. Look at them and copy the useful ones. If there is no list, then look at a number of potentially useful records and copy down words and phrases from the "subject" or "descriptor" area of single record. Some databases provide a thesaurus of terms which can lead to broader, related, or narrower terms you may not have thought of.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR using the words you learned about as a result of your first search.
  4. Be sure to connect search terms correctly using the following techniques
  • Boolean connectors
    • AND connects different concepts and narrows a search: Fish AND chips
    • OR, with parentheses, combines synonyms/related terms and broadens a search: Fish AND (chips OR fries)
  • Use quotation marks for phrases: Fish AND (chips OR "french fries")
  • Use the asterisk as a wildcard character to retrieve variations on a common stem: educat* retrieves educate, education, educating, educated, etc. Very useful for capturing plurals

Contact

Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

Text Us! (Mon-Fri, 10 - 4): 315-277-3730

Social Media

College Libraries

Home

SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13617